Seiko SKX vs. Seiko 5 Sports Divers – What’s the Difference?

Seiko SKX vs. Seiko 5 Sports Divers – What’s the Difference?

With Seiko recently announcing their new line of Seiko 5 Sports divers, it has many questioning which is the better Seiko dive watch.

Is it the classic Seiko SKX or the new Seiko 5 Sports Divers? How do they compare? Which should you buy?

It’s rumored the Seiko SKX is going to be discontinued, and if so, it’s possible this new line of divers will take its place, though that is purely speculation for now.

This means that for the moment, the Seiko SKX and all of its variants, such as the SKX007, SKX009 and SKX013 are all still readily available to purchase.

Today we’re going to take a look at the changes made, the differences between the two divers, and the pros and cons of each.

Upgraded 4r36 Movement

One of the biggest upgrades in the new Seiko 5 Sports divers is the movement.
The SKX features a 7S26 movement that is basically Seiko’s lowest grade of movement.

It’s not the most accurate but it’s very robust and is known for going sometimes even upward of even 10 or more years without ever needing a service.

The Seiko 5 Sports diver movement, on the other hand, is a slightly upgraded 4r36 movement. It’s basically the same movement as the previously mentioned 7S26, with the addition of hacking and handwinding

Hacking is the feature of stopping the second hand when you pull out the crown to set the time, thus being able to set the time more accurately.

Hand winding, is the ability to manually power the automatic movement in your watch by winding it up by the crown. 

Hacking and handwinding are features that people have been wanting in the SKX for years. Many even mod their SKX to include a similar NH36 movement that has hacking and handwinding already.

Water Resistance & ISO Certification

One of the biggest downgrades going from the Seiko SKX to the new Seiko divers is the water resistance.

The SKX has a 200m water resistance and is ISO certified. The ISO certification means it meets a certain set of standards in terms of things like legibility, magnetic resistance, shock resistance and etc. 

Basically, this certification means it is appropriate to wear as a professional dive watch.
The Seiko 5 Sports divers, on the other hand, are not.

They only have a water resistance of 100m, which is appropriate for swimming but cannot withstand dives at depths deeper than 100m. It is NOT an ISO certified watch, meaning there are much looser standards for this watch regarding the previously mentioned qualifications like shock resistance, magnetic resistance, etc.

Overall, this means the Seiko 5 Sports diver won’t be quite as rugged and tough as the SKX is. 

Now, that’s not to say the Sports diver won’t be more than fine for most people. How regularly do most of us go diving, anyway? 

But the ISO certification on the SKX gives a sense of security to the owners of the watch, and a sense of knowing that you could go diving with it, if you wanted to. The winner here is the SKX here, no questions asked.

Screw Down Crown

Another thing the Sports diver is losing is the screw-down crown that the SKX currently has.

A screw-down crown, well, you guessed it, screws the crown of the watch down to the case. This helps prevent water from getting inside. 

It also tends to be a little more resilient, helping to prevent the crown from accidentally getting pushed out in the case of an incident or hard drop. 

The lack of a screw-down crown on the Sports diver could potentially be one of the reasons we see the water resistance has dropped.

New Seiko 5 Sports Logo

On the Sports diver we see the logo has been revamped.  

It appears to be a sideways S, or a 5, if you squint your eyes hard enough. 

Basically it’s a combination of the 5 from Seiko 5 and the S from ‘Sports’, thus combining the Seiko 5 and Seiko Sports lines.

I know the logo will be off putting to some. Personally, I don’t mind it. I like what the Seiko 5 line represents and have grown to love its logo, as I’m sure I will grow to love this one also.

New Design

The SKX is a design that has been around for years. It’s simplistic and tooly with no extra frills that don’t need to be there.

The new Seiko 5 sports diver clearly takes heavy inspiration from the SKX while changing a few different design queues.

Applied hour markers make the Sports diver look a little more polished than the SKX in all its tool-watch glory. 

Dimensions

The SKX and Seiko 5 have roughly the same exact dimensions.

They both have a diameter of approximately 42.5mm and a lug width of 22mm. 

They also feature the crown at the same 4 o clock position on both. 

Variations

The SKX, while beautiful in its simplistic nature, and nearly perfect to some (myself included), it lacks in variety. 

The new Seiko 5 Sports Divers, on the other hand, will be available with 27 different iterations from 5 styles: Sports, Suits, Specialist, Street and Sense.

The Sports most closely resemble the SKX, featuring relatively simple designs and popular dive watch colors including blue, pepsi, orange, black and even a couple of surprising offerings like green. 

The Suits diver will be your slightly dressy and vintage inspired dive watches featuring a faux patina lume and Milanese mesh bracelets that look like something out of Mad Men.

Specialist are a relatively straightforward offering, but with an option for a rose gold plated or gunmetal grey case. They come on an alligator embossed strap that may be leather or rubber.

The Street divers are black PVD coated, and are black head to toe, even on the bezel insert, day/date wheel, and included nato. Their embossed lume markers are either black, red or blue depending on which version you get.

Finally, the Sense has a unique textured dial and comes in either green or burgundy. 

The Final Verdict

The upgraded 4R36 is a welcome (and long overdue) addition to the new Seiko 5 Sports divers. I love the huge variety of colors and designs, though the lack of 200m water resistance and no screw-down crown may be a bummer for some. 

They’ll have the 4R36 movement with hacking hand-winding and a 41-hour power reserve; a Hardlex crystal; and be 42.5mm wide, 13.4mm thick, and have a Hardlex case back with 100m of water resistance.

3 thoughts on “Seiko SKX vs. Seiko 5 Sports Divers – What’s the Difference?”

  1. Like the 4r36, but the 100 meter downgrade, the non screw down crown and the non-Luminova lume (unLuminova?) are any one of them deal-breakers. The world doesn’t need another poorly speced desk diver. Why bother when Orient has several properly speced nicely designed divers for less money. It’s a shame when it would have been cheap and easy to make any one of these properly speced SKX models, and they would have sold like hotcakes.

    And anyways, Seiko SKXs are not Rolexes that Seiko would generate their own in-house counterfeits.

    Hell, you can’t even honestly describe them as homages. And who in his right mind would buy an SKX homage anyway? The SKXs too good and too cheap. Better to just swap the 7S26 for a 4R36 and put in a different color dial and maybe a sapphire crystal. It can’t be all that hard. Aftermarket watchmakers are doing it all the time. Marc at Long Island Watch has been doing the conversion for about the last 6 months.

    • You’re absolutely right, William. Are the hour markers non-lumed on all of the models? For some reason I thought it was only the Suit model, that’s a questionable choice on Seiko’s part.

      The mods are not difficult at all, though some just prefer the pre-built package. Thus why they buy from modders and retailers like LIW. Luckily, with the Sports Diver and SKX sharing dimensions, I’m almost positive they will likely share many modded parts, a huge plus.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, William!

      • Seiko 5 sports models are just garbage, I don’t like the clear case back looks cheap and the mouvement nothing to be proud to show it. It’s a fake diver because is not ISO. The design is a copy of SKX and don’t forget is most expensive no make sense to buy one of this Seiko 5. I don’t understand how a company like Seiko don’t understand their customers. We want skx with better mouvement +- 4 second s
        And shappire crystal is too much ask. I hope Seiko see this mail

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